September 2015 Monthly Quick Grammar Review

This month’s quick grammar review is about the placement of adjectives.

Descriptive adjectives usually follow a noun.  They emphasize, distinguish, or differentiate the noun from others of its class

Rodrigo es un muchacho inteligente. (descriptive adjective)     Rodrigo is an intelligent boy.

Non-descriptive adjectives usually precede a noun.

Estas manzanas son grandes. (demonstrative adjective)     These apples are big

Mis padres están aquí. (possesive adjective)     My parents are here.

Quiero dos plátanos. (numeral)     I want two bananas.

Vinieron algunas mujeres a la fiesta. (indefinite adjective)     Some women came to the party.

Hay muchos libros en la biblioteca. (quantitative adjective)     There are many books in the library.                                                                                                                                         

When an adjective is stressed, it usually comes after the noun.

Mis amigos ricos están aquí. (Not all of my friends are rich.)     My rich friends are here.

When the noun is stressed, the adjective comes before the noun.

Ayer me compré una caliente chaqueta en vez de un sombrero. (Focus is on the jacket)

Yesterday I bought a warm jacket instead of a hat.

Bueno and malo can be placed before or after a noun.

Es un buen amigo.     Es un amigo bueno.     He is a good friend.

When a descriptive adjective denotes an inherent or logical characteristic of the noun, the adjective precedes the noun.

La blanca nieve cubre la montaña.     The white snow covers the  mountain.                                                               

Some adjectives have different meanings depending on whether they precede or follow the noun.

un pobre muchacho       an unfortunate boy              

un muchacho pobre        a penniless boy

When an adjective is used to express the subjective judgement of the speaker, it is placed before the noun.

Hay bellas flores in la colina.     There are beautiful flowers on the hill.

(Another person may not think that these flowers are beautiful.)

Adjective placement in Spanish can be confusing.  I hope this quick grammar review makes this topic a little less confusing!

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